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review 2018-08-15 14:49
"A Pitying of Doves", by Steve Burrows
A Pitying of Doves: A Birder Murder Mystery - Steve Burrows
A Birder Murder Mystery #2

This neatly constructed series is quite original intertwining avian with the classic whodunit and doing so in an entertaining way. This second book is a smart and absorbing read. With some series you need to read the novels in sequence, here I suggest strongly doing so otherwise you will need to piece the missing parts and back read…..( this is exactly what I have to do)…..

In book 2, we have more bird related murder and mayhem in which the author’s ornithological background shines. Chief Inspector Dominic Jejeune, an avid birder and lead investigator is called out at a gruesome scene at a bird sanctuary where a researcher is found dead beside the body of a senior attaché from the Mexican consulate. You would think this to be a cut and dry investigation but when Powers that Be want to squash any wrongdoing… things turns out not to be that simple……

To enjoy this mystery you need a certain suspension of belief. The story is a tightly woven plot where every twist seemed to relate back to birding. Of course being heavy on bird information I inevitable learn a good deal about doves. I love birds so more information did not bother me but if you do not maybe you should skip this series all together or maybe give it a try; you may change your mind.

The main character Dominic Jejeune is an extremely complex individual with deep secrets. He often ponders on things, what could trouble him so much….well this second story tease us even more by dropping some clues that say little and leaving us wondering if the sequel will reveal more… or not. The story progresses slowly and as it does I was trying hard to pin point the murderer, I never did work out the whodunit….I really thought it was someone else and certainly I am not alone reaching a wrong conclusion….Quite suspense in its own way “ A Pitying of Doves” is a good and entertaining read.
 
 

 

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review 2018-08-12 05:10
Read It and Weep by Jenn McKinlay
Read It and Weep - Jenn McKinlay

In this entry in the series, Violet La Rue is holding auditions for A Midsummer Night's Dream. The entire town is excited, and not just because many of them want a chance to shine onstage. It turns out that the role of Puck is going to be played by a friend of Violet's, a charming famous actor named Robbie Vine.

Lindsey doesn't want a part in the play, but she does agree to help with costuming. Meanwhile, Sully's helping build the set, and their friends hope that the close proximity will lead to them getting back together. There's definitely still a spark between them, but things become complicated when Lindsey finds herself drawn to Robbie. Sure, his personal life is a mess, but at least he talks to her and tells her how he feels. Unfortunately, something sinister is going on. Someone seems to want Robbie, and possibly anyone close to him, dead.

Mystery-wise, this was a bit weak. I correctly guessed the culprit a little more than halfway through the book and never saw any reason to change my mind. In fact, at one point I noticed a fairly obvious clue - the character made an offhand comment about an event that they shouldn't have known anything about. It took Lindsey quite a bit longer than me, but she finally noticed that comment and connected the dots, as well as a few minor ones I'd missed.

Relationship-wise, this book frustrated me. If it weren't for the library aspects (which were pretty decent this time around - a couple interesting stints at the reference desk for Lindsey) and the fact that this is one of the few series that I know people around me have read and that I can therefore talk to them about, I'd probably be quitting at this point.

I still believe that Sully breaking up with Lindsey at the end of the previous book was out-of-character for him, and this book didn't tell me anything that changed my mind. Sully's sister hinted that Sully had some deeper issues at play, but Lindsey stubbornly refused to let her tell her anything more, insisting that Sully had to tell her himself. Which, fine, except Sully's the quiet type who doesn't talk about himself much, so this left readers with nothing except "Sully dumped Lindsey because he thought her worry that her ex-fiance had been killed meant she still needed time to get over him." Never mind that it would have been weird and creepy if she'd been unmoved by the possible death of someone she'd known well, and never mind that Sully had spent the whole book up to that point taking Lindsey's fiance's presence and attempts to win her back in stride.

I remember rolling my eyes at Lindsey's worry, in the earlier books in the series, that she was reading more than she should into Sully's behavior, that he wasn't really attracted to her and it was all in her head. Still, I could understand it. Unfortunately, in this book she went right back to that state. You'd think she'd have gotten better at reading him - he was clearly still interested in her and displayed it in much the same way he had in the earlier books, only with the added awkwardness of the breakup standing between them.

The addition of Robbie Vine didn't make things better. I was fine with Lindsey having a bit of fun and flirting with him, but I was not on board with her seriously considering dating him. First, he was married. I hated how many of Lindsey's friends responded to that by saying "But only on paper!" Sorry, he was still married, had had years to see about getting a divorce, and never had. And his wife was in the play. It was a complication that Lindsey definitely didn't need. Second, his ex-girlfriend was also in the play and seemed to wish that they'd never broken up. Another complication Lindsey didn't need.

The big plot twist near the end, and Lindsey's reaction to it, did not bode well for the next book in the series. I don't buy that all of this was necessary to keep Lindsey's romantic life fresh and interesting. There are ways McKinlay could have kept Sully and Lindsey interesting as a couple without any of this mess - something from Sully's past could have cropped up, or Lindsey's brother could have stopped by and either gotten along really well with Sully or clashed with him, or...anything but what McKinlay actually gave readers. The plot twist really irked me, and I couldn't understand why Lindsey wasn't more bothered by it.

Extras:

  • The Briar Creek Library Guide to Crafternoons
  • Readers Guide for Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Card-making idea
  • Recipe for Nancy's Raspberry Petit Fours. Shockingly, although the book includes references to pumpkin squares, a recipe for them is not included.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2018-08-07 21:50
Purr M for Muuuuuuuurder
Purr M for Murder: A Cat Rescue Mystery - T.C. Lotempio

Well, my dad means well when he sends me stuff. And usually he gets me. He sent me a Golden Girls collectors magazine once, and a cat shirt, and a book about a cat saving Christmas. But this book is just...wow. 

 

I don't read mysteries, for one. And I really don't do cozy mysteries because I find them campy and easy to figure out. But the 52 pages I read of this was like a bad Lifetime movie. Or maybe Hallmark. 

 

I mean, we start out with a conflict with the cat rescue and Baddy McBadguy.

 

 

Rich white Southern man in a 3-piece suit, Italian loafers, and a pit of money for all I know. Beak of a nose, beady eyes, weaselly fellow. Hates do-gooders and only worries about money. Wants to shut down the rescue. It was so straight out of a cookie-cutter Disney Channel movie I couldn't believe it. 

 

The McCall sisters are more of the same stereotypes. One is a jilted former New York exec. The other is the hometown bomb shell who stayed behind to run the family businesses. 

 

All we needed was a motorcycle riding Michael Shanks to show up and we would have a made-for-TV movie there, but I digress. 

 

 

Mmmm.

 

Wait, what? Oh, the book.

 

Anyway, the writing was stilted and stiff. The author didn't have a grasp of modern technology, and the dialogue was forced. The McCall sisters made immature decisions for grown business women, and that's what made me hang it up. When a book places characters in unrealistic positions and has the characters do unbelievable things just to move the story in a certain direction, it shows poor writing. People act a certain way and have certain natural reactions to things, and I am finding more and more that authors do not get that. And I am an author. Like this story: these ladies go to confront  Baddy at his business, they can't find him, it's way early in the morning and dark in the building. Normal people would effing leave. Not these brilliant ladies. They wander inside, using their cellphone as a flashlight, and proceed to just snoop. I closed the book when they had found the office, turned on the lights, saw nobody was there and decided to OPEN A LN ARMOIRE FOR NO REASON. They were there to see a person, not spy. There was no reason to spy, yet the author thought it was a great way to make the women end up caught in the murder web of the book. But do grown women really act this way? I certainly don't. 

 

Two stars, but subtract half a star for the cellphone flashlight stupidity.

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text 2018-08-07 21:03
Reading progress update: I've read 51 out of 294 pages.
Purr M for Murder: A Cat Rescue Mystery - T.C. Lotempio

 

This book is so bad it's comical. Grown women making decisions teenagers would even find stupid. I don't know if I can read this, daddy. I know you tried, but this is so damn bad I'm laughing at it. I will probably just keep this book for posterity. But no, don't read this. None of it makes sense.

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text 2018-08-07 20:52
Reading progress update: I've read 45 out of 294 pages.
Purr M for Murder: A Cat Rescue Mystery - T.C. Lotempio

"She reached into the bag on her shoulder and whipped out her phone. It only took a few minutes for her to call up her flashlight app..."

 

I'm deducting half a star for every unbelievable tech reference we get from now on. It should not take you more than 30 seconds to pull up the flashlight app, especially on newer phones that have it on the pull-down bar. Minutes means you're either an idiot or an author that has never actually used the app you are describing. 

 

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